The British abandonment of the people of Darfur has been completed

“Britain once seemed eager to halt genocide in Darfur”

Source: Eric Reeves  |  January 23, 2018   |   

At one time Britain ruled Sudan as a colony (under so-called “Condominium Rule” with Egypt, 1898 – 1956); now Britain is engaged in a despicable campaign of rapprochement with the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in Khartoum despite its unrelenting barbarism, its support for radical Islam and terrorism, and its serial genocidal counter-insurgencies against the people of Sudan’s peripheries. In the interest of securing Khartoum’s assistance in controlling African migration to the European continent, Britain is willing to say and do almost anything to secure good relations with a regime that for the past 28 years has ruled only by means of the most brutal tyranny—a tyranny now on daily display in confronting popular demonstrations over the consequences of NIF/NCP destruction of the Sudanese economy, producing among other things a catastrophic rate of inflation with its 2018 budget. 

Britain once seemed eager to halt genocide in Darfur, one of several sites where the NIF/NCP has waged its genocidal counter-insurgency wars. Britain’s representatives at a September 2004 meeting of the Parliament of the European Union were among those, in an overwhelming vote (566 – 6), who declared Khartoum’s violent targeting of non-Arab/African villages and peoples was “tantamount to genocide.” That was then; Britain today seems more interested in giving way to European xenophobic impulses.

With the last major military resistance in Darfur overcome by means of the extraordinarily cruel and ruthless Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, Khartoum has turned its sights not to ending violence against the non-Arab/African, but to a “disarmament campaign” run chiefly by the same RSF that wrought such terrible destruction from 2013 to the present, and continues to be central in ongoing violence against civilians (see below). The results have been predictable, and the victims continue to be the very non-Arab/African civilians supposedly protected by this spurious and hopelessly ineffective “disarmament campaign,” which in September entered its “compulsory,” i.e., “forcible,” phase.

But the fact that violence and consequent insecurity in Darfur continues at an extremely high levels, with those responsible for disarmament also responsible for most of the violence, seemed not to trouble the UK’s special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Chris Trott, in his celebration of Khartoum’s “disarmament campaign”:

British envoy hails Darfur disarmament campaign, Sudan Tribune, January 22, 2018 (KHARTOUM)

The United Kingdom special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Chris Trott has praised the role of the government disarmament campaign in improving the security situation in Darfur. On Monday, Trott met with the chairman of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) Tijani Sissi in the presence of the British Ambassador to Sudan, Michael Aron. The LJM political and information officer Ahmed Fadl Abdallah told the official news agency SUNA, the meeting discussed Sudan’s peace process and in particular Darfur talks as well as the disarmament campaign.

According to Abdallah, Trott hailed the LJM efforts to achieve peace and stability in the country, praising the government decision to collect the illicit weapons in Darfur. Last August, the Sudanese authorities launched a six-month disarmament campaign to eliminate illegal weapons in the conflict-affected areas in Sudan, particularly in Darfur region. The Sudanese authorities say the spread of weapons among the rival tribes in the region is one of the main causes of Darfur’s instability.

There are several notable features of this loathsomely disingenuous praising:

The so-called “Liberation and Justice Movement” (LJM) is not and never has been a representative Darfuri body: it was the 2011 creation of former Libyan strongman Muamar Gadhafi and former, wholly incompetent U.S. special envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration (a retired air force general who wasPresident Obama’s first of three special envoys, all determined to betray the people of Darfur). The LJM was a cobbled together affair of rebel fragments and disaffected former rebel members, and in no way represented—then or now—Darfuri civil society or the major armed rebel movements. Its sole purpose was to serve as signatory to the July 2011 “Doha Document for Peace in Darfur” (DDPD) a diplomatic “dead letter” from the moment it was signed—yet promptly endorsed by the UK and others. Notably, there was no meaningful representation of Darfuri civil society in Doha, and the talks were boycotted by all major groups.

Britain and others expediently accepted the DDPD as viable for an unconscionably long time, even as it did not nothing to address the primary issues in need of resolution for peace to come to Darfur—primarily a clear plan for restitution of farmlands to those who had lost them to Sudan Armed Forces and Arab militia (“janjaweed”) predations during the previous years of the genocide—and would continue to lose them following the signing of the DDPD. See |

 “Men With No Mercy: Rapid Support Forces Attacks against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan,”Human Rights Watch, September 2015 | https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/sudan0915_insert_lowres_with_cover.pdf

• “Changing the Demography”:  Violent Expropriation and Destruction of Farmlands in Darfur, November 2014 – November 2015,” Eric Reeves, author | Maya Baca, research and editing, December 1, 2015  | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1P4

The office of the U.S. special envoy for the Sudans in the U.S. State Department will now privately acknowledge what has long been clear: that there is no way to make the DDPD a basis for a just peace in Darfur; and yet some European countries—including the UK—continued to flog the DDPD as a viable roadmap for peace, on the model of the previously failed peace attempt (2009) by Thabo Mbeki as head of the “African Union High-Level Panel for Peace in Darfur.”

The latter is a wholly worthless body, with no diplomatic success to its credit, that continues to march aimlessly along and thus make other diplomatic initiatives more difficult—and giving excuses to those who have no intention of offering the substantial diplomatic resources that would be required to bring real energy and possibility to the Darfur peace process. Going even further back, we see both British and U.S. support for the disastrous Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006 (Abuja, Nigeria), signed by only one of the major rebel groups (and that under extraordinary diplomatic duress, chiefly engineered by the U.S.).

The upshot is that Britain no longer really cares what happens to the people of Darfur or the negotiation of a just peace that includes those who have suffered most during fifteen long years of genocidal violence. Britain no longer cares about the viciously repressive measures used by the Khartoum regime. Indeed, for those who follow closely UK Home Office asylum policies for Sudanese, including non-Arab/African Darfuris, it is clear that the former colonial ruler is perfectly happy to repatriate forcibly any Sudanese who don’t meet increasingly impossible standards for political asylum and protection from ethnic targeting in Sudan.

All the UK really cares about is helping the U.S. secure counter-terrorism intelligence from Khartoum, and keeping Africans out of the European continent. Here we should recall the remarkable revelations by Der Spiegel in May 2016 of a March 2016 secret meeting (the UK was at the time, of course, still part of the EU and the “Brexit” vote had not occurred). It does more than anything to explain Envoy Trott’s praise of Khartoum yesterday:

“Questionable Deal: EU to Work with [Sudan’s] Despot to Keep Refugees Out,” Der Spiegel (May 13, 2016)

by Jürgen Daklamp and Maximilian Poll | http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/eu-to-work-with-despot-in-sudan-to-keep-refugees-out-a-1092328.html

In an effort to help keep refugees from Africa at bay, the EU is planning to deliver personal registration equipment to Sudan, whose president is wanted on war crimes charges. Germany is leading the way.

The ambassadors of the 28 European Union member states had agreed to secrecy. “Under no circumstances” should the public learn what was said at the talks that took place on March 23rd, the European Commission warned during the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee. A staff member of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini even warned that Europe’s reputation could be at stake.

[See especially last paragraph of this extraordinary dispatch: The German concentration camps of World War II were “closed camps,” and we may be sure that the closed camps Germany builds in Sudan will again be used to “concentrate” people on an ethnic and possibly religious basis. The plans are tailor-made for the needs of Khartoum’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS)—full article appears below—ER]

If Germany was leading the way in providing registration and surveillance equipment and creating “closed camps” (effectively, concentration camps), Britain offered no resistance. The same cynicism is evident in yesterday’s comments by UK special envoy Chris Trott. Trott is either deliberately refusing to acknowledge, or is simply ignorant of, the continuing violence in Darfur, primarily by the RSF who are responsible for the disarmament campaign.

Some recommended reading for Mr. Trott:

• RSF commander accused of abductions in South Darfur | Radio Dabanga, January 16, 2018 | EL SALAM, SOUTH DARFUR

• Violent Central Darfur weapons search continues | Radio Dabanga, January 12, 2018 | NIERTETI

• Three people wounded in Central Darfur weapons search Radio Dabanga, January 11, 2018 | NIERTETI / TUR

• Darfur Military Intelligence continues detention campaign in Nierteti | Radio Dabanga, January 10, 2018 | NIERTETI

• RSF force Darfur merchants to set food prices | Radio Dabanga, January 23, 2018 | GARSILA, Central Darfur

 Death toll in Central Darfur camp shootings rises to five | Radio Dabanga, January 23, 2018 | ZALINGEI

• ‘Four shot dead in Central Darfur camp protests’: Coordinator | Radio Dabanga, January 22, 2018 | ZALINGEI

• Two women raped during Darfur attack, UNAMID confirms | Radio Dabanga, January 19, 2018 | ZALINGEI

• Autopsy confirms death by torture of Darfur detainee | Radio Dabanga, January 19, 2018 | GIREIDA

• Eight Nierteti detainees transferred to Central Darfur capital | Radio Dabanga, January 18, 2018 | ZALINGEI

 Released Darfur detainees ‘forced to report daily’ | Radio Dabanga, January 16, 2018 | NIERTETI

• Sudan: Reports of torture in South Darfur, South Kordofan | Radio Dabanga, January 15, 2018 | GIREIDA / DELLING

• Omda of Nierteti, three others held by Military Intelligence in Central Darfur | Radio Dabanga, January 14, 2018 | NIERTETI

COMPENDIA OF RECENT VIOLENCE IN DARFUR

• Unrelenting Violence in Darfur: Recent Reporting by Radio Dabanga, January 11, 2018 | https://wp.me/s45rOG-8415

• Unrelenting Violence in Darfur: Recent Reporting by Radio Dabanga, December 28, 2017 | https://wp.me/p45rOG-2b4

• Ominous Signs in Khartoum’s “Disarmament” Campaign in Darfur, December 12, 2017 |https://wp.me/p45rOG-2aM

• Rape as a Weapon of War Continues Unchecked in Darfur, December 18, 2017 | https://wp.me/p45rOG-2aA

• As UNAMID deploys out of Darfur: ethnically-targeted violence continues on a wide scale | A bi-weekly compendium, No. 5, December 4, 2017  | http://wp.me/p45rOG-29s

• As UNAMID deploys out of Darfur: ethnically-targeted violence continues on a wide scale | A bi-weekly compendium, No. 4, November 18, 2017  | http://wp.me/p45rOG-28a

[ Three other biweekly compendia of violence in recent months precede these…see www.sudanreeves.org ]

APPENDIX:

Der Spiegel (May 13, 2016), “Questionable Deal: EU to Work with [Sudan’s] Despot to Keep Refugees Out”

by Jürgen Daklamp and Maximilian Poll | http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/eu-to-work-with-despot-in-sudan-to-keep-refugees-out-a-1092328.html

In an effort to help keep refugees from Africa at bay, the EU is planning to deliver personal registration equipment to Sudan, whose president is wanted on war crimes charges. Germany is leading the way.

[See especially last paragraph of this extraordinary dispatch: The German concentration camps of World War II were “closed camps,” and we may be sure that the closed camps Germany builds in Sudan will again be used to “concentrate” people on an ethnic and possibly religious basis. The plans are tailor-made for the needs of Khartoum’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS)—ER]

The ambassadors of the 28 European Union member states had agreed to secrecy. “Under no circumstances” should the public learn what was said at the talks that took place on March 23rd, the European Commission warned during the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee. A staff member of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini even warned that Europe’s reputation could be at stake.

Under the heading “TOP 37: Country fiches,” the leading diplomats that day discussed a plan that the EU member states had agreed to: They would work together with dictatorships around the Horn of Africa in order to stop the refugee flows to Europe — under Germany’s leadership.

When it comes to taking action to counter the root causes of flight in the region, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, “I strongly believe that we must improve peoples’ living conditions.” The EU’s new action plan for the Horn of Africa provides the first concrete outlines: For three years, $40 million ($45 million) is to be paid out to eight African countries from the Emergency Trust Fund, including Sudan.

Minutes from the March 23 meetings and additional classified documents obtained by SPIEGEL and the German public television station ARD show “Report Mainz” show that the focus of the project is border protection. To that end, equipment is to be provided to the countries in question.

War Crimes and Torture

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges relating to his alleged role in genocide and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict. Amnesty International also claims that the Sudanese secret service has tortured members of the opposition. And the United States accuses the country of providing financial support to terrorists.

Nevertheless, documents relating to the project indicate that Europe want to send cameras, scanners and servers for registering refugees to the Sudanese regime in addition to training their border police and assisting with the construction of two camps with detention rooms for migrants. The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has confirmed that action plan is binding, although no concrete decisions have yet been made regarding its implementation.

The German development agency GIZ is expected to coordinate the project. The organization, which is a government enterprise, has experience working with authoritarian countries.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, German federal police are providing their Saudi colleagues with training in German high-tech border installations. The money for the training comes not directly from the federal budget but rather from GIZ.

When it comes to questions of finance, the organization has become a vehicle the government can use to be less transparent, a government official confirms.

Important Route

An important refugee route runs through Sudan, Africa’s third largest country. Migrants from Eritrea, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic all seek to make their way via Khartoum to Libya, where they catch boats to Europe. The United Nations says that there are currently 4 million people in flight in the area.

In recent years, Europe has delegated responsibility for those seeking protection to third countries, like Morocco, Ukraine and, more recently, Turkey. Now, with al-Bashir, the job of controlling migration is being turned over to a suspected war criminal. “A regime that destabilized the region and drove hundreds of thousands of people to flee is now supposed to stem the refugee problem for the EU,” criticizes Marina Peter, an expert on the Horn of Africa region at the German relief organization Bread for the World.

The plan is also controversial within the EU. The “risks” listed in the action plan includes the fact that equipment financed by the Emergency Trust Fund could be abused by repressive regimes and used in the oppression of the civilian population.

A general with Sudan’s Interior Ministry told SPIEGEL and ARD that technology would not just be used to register refugees, but also all Sudanese. The regime’s goal appears to be the absolute surveillance of its people.

Can Sudan Be a Serious Partner?

Experts like Peter also express doubts about whether Sudanese leader al-Bashir is prepared to take serious action against migrant smugglers.

Human Rights Watch has claimed in reports that the Sudanese regime itself works together with criminal networks. The report alleges that the police and military have sold refugees to human traffickers.

The European Commission, meanwhile, has warned EU ambassadors in a classified memo that Sudan is primarily interested in polishing its image abroad.

Germany and the other EU member states nevertheless seem determined to push ahead with their pact with the despotSudanese authorities say there have been numerous visitors from Germany in recent weeks who were there to discuss the construction of   [NB]  closed camps. When questioned about its role, Germany’s GIZ issued a written reply that there were no concrete plans in the country yet.

[End of article; all emphases in the text are mine—ER]

Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

 

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